Feasibility study for reductive destruction of carbon tetrachloride using bare and polymer coated nickel electrodes

Jiankang Wang, James Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This research investigated the feasibility of an electrochemical reductive dechlorination method for removing carbon tetrachloride (CT) from contaminated waters. Reaction rates and Faradaic current efficiencies were measured for CT dechlorination in small flow-through reactors utilizing bare and silicone polymer coated nickel cathodes. CT dechlorination resulted in near stoichiometric production of methane. Rates of CT reduction were found to follow a first-order kinetic model for all CT concentrations investigated. CT disappearance was limited by its reaction rate and the performance of the reactor could be approximated with an ideal plug-flow reactor model. Destruction half-life values for CT with the bare nickel electrode ranged from 3.5 to 5.8∈min for electrode potentials ranging from -652 to -852∈mV with respect to the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE). The apparent electron transfer coefficient for CT reduction was only 0.06. The low transfer coefficient can be attributed to oxides coating the electrode surface that contributed to mass transfer resistance for CT reduction. Faradaic current efficiencies for CT reduction were found to decline with decreasing electrode potential. This can be attributed to an electron transfer coefficient for water reduction of 0.33 that was significantly greater than that for CT reduction. Faradaic current efficiencies could be increased by 100-360% by coating the electrode with a silicone polymer. In addition to decreasing the rate of water reduction by acting as hydrophobic mass transfer barrier the polymer coating resulted in small increases in CT reaction rates. The energy cost per volume of water treated was strongly dependent on the electrode potential but only weakly dependent on the influent CT concentration over the range of practical interest. The energy costs for reductive dechlorination appear to be lower than the carbon costs for adsorptive treatment of CT. This indicates that low current efficiencies at low CT concentrations are not a significant obstacle for developing a practical treatment process. The main impediment to electrochemical treatment for removing CT from water is the slow reaction rate that requires large reactors for obtaining sufficient hydraulic detention time to meet effluent water standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Electrochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Chlorinated solvent
  • Dehalogenation
  • Reductive dechlorination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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